Covid-19 reshapes US consumer content consumption, ad preferences

Overall time spent online in the US has dramatically increased over March 2020 with consumers spending a lot more time than before on mobile, connected TVs and laptops says a study from video advertising platform Unruly.
Unruly conncted TV 9Apr2020
Unruly, which is part of Tremor International, surveyed a total of 2,556 consumers globally in late March 2020 for the study which found that daily routines in the US have drastically changed, with only 10% continuing on as normal, while 42% are self-isolating and 48% are social distancing. As a result, Unruly discovered, so has their interest changed in what their advertising experience looks like.

Half of consumers in the survey were spending more time than before on their mobile phones (50%), connected TVs (42%) and laptops (35%). Just over three-fifths were spending more time on social media than they used to. Nearly half (47%) increased their spending on home entertainment. Yet while 22% of consumers were currently watching sports, 59% are watching comedy.

Just over half (53%) of consumers preferred brands to communicate through TV ads with 22% of respondents saying they wanted brands to share information on how they are supporting their staff and customers during this time, and 21% wanted brand advertisements to include information about Covid-19. However, at the same time, 17% of consumers also wanted ads to provide a sense of continuity and normalcy, while another 17% wanted ads to be funny/positive in an effort to distract from what’s going on.

“The pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in consumer behaviours and their preferences,” said Terence Scroope, VP of insight at Unruly commenting on the study. “The vast majority of consumers still want to see ads, but the key to success is in the content and the way a message is conveyed. The magnitude of these changes require brands to be nimble in adapting their advertising strategies to maintain and grow connections with consumers, provide support and minimise disruption to performance.”

As Unruly disclosed the US study, similar research for the UK found 42% of UK consumers want ads to make them feel more informed during coronavirus pandemic. People in the UK were turning to comedy during the Coronavirus pandemic, with British viewers more likely to watch comedy shows or films (50%) than the news (48%). Three-fifths were spending more time on social media than they used to.

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